If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, it is critical that you understand what this means and the potential penalties you may face. Your criminal defense lawyer can review the charges against you, explain what you are accused of, and discuss your legal rights.  

What Is a Controlled Substance in Kentucky?

Like many other states, Kentucky divides controlled substances into different “schedules.” 

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, substances are placed in schedules based on:

  • Whether they have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States
  • Their potential for abuse
  • Their likelihood of causing dependence

The schedules are:

Schedule I

Schedule I controlled substances do not have any currently accepted medical use in the United States. Additionally, they have a high potential for abuse. 

Schedule I drugs include:

  • Ecstasy
  • Heroin
  • Methaqualone
  • Peyote

Schedule I drugs are considered the most serious, so possession of these drugs results in the most severe penalties. 

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, which can result in physical and psychological dependence. 

In Kentucky, Schedule II drugs include:

  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Opium
  • Oxycodone

While Kentucky generally classifies drugs the same as federal law, there are exceptions. 

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs include, among others:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Barbital
  • Ketamine
  • Morphine combination product not more than 50 mg

Drugs in this schedule may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. 

Schedule IV

Kentucky classifies other drugs as Schedule IV, including:

  • Diazepam
  • Loprazolam
  • Meprobamate
  • Pemoline
  • Tetrazepam

Substances in this category have a low potential for abuse. 

Schedule V

Schedule V controlled substances have a low potential for abuse compared to the other schedules. Cough medications with codeine less than 200 mg are considered Schedule V controlled substances.

Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Kentucky

Possession of a controlled substance in Kentucky can be charged as a first degree, second degree, or third degree offense, depending on the drug involved and the amount. 

These offenses can be charged as:

  • Class B misdemeanor – This offense has a maximum term of imprisonment of 45 days.
  • Class A misdemeanor – The maximum term of imprisonment for this offense is 12 months. 
  • Class D felony – The maximum term of imprisonment for this offense is three years.

Additional penalties may apply if the defendant has previously been convicted of a drug-related offense.

Types of Possession of a Controlled Substance in Kentucky

There may be various types of possession of a controlled substance in Kentucky, including:

Actual Possession 

Actual possession means that a criminal defendant knowingly has direct physical control over a controlled substance. 

For example, the defendant may have the drug:

  • In their pocket
  • In their hat
  • In their shoe
  • In their purse or wallet 
  • In a place where the defendant threw it to get rid of it 
  • In their car 
  • In their room

For actual possession cases, your criminal defense lawyer may try to attack how the drug was found, such as through an illegal search.

Constructive Possession 

You can face drug charges even if you were not in actual possession of a drug. 

Constructive possession applies when you:

  • Mean to possess the drug
  • Can exert dominion and control over the drug

The court can consider many factors to determine if you were in constructive possession of a drug, even if you were not the only person who had access or control over it. 

These factors include:

  • Whether the drug was in plain view
  • The proximity of the drug to the defendant
  • Where the drug was found 
  • Whether the defendant fled 
  • Whether the defendant admitted to possessing the drug 
  • Whether the defendant’s possessions were near the drug

A lawyer may try to argue that the drugs did not belong to the defendant and that the defendant was unaware of them in constructive possession cases.

Possession with the Intent to Distribute

Most possession cases are based on “simple possession.” In these cases, the defendant has a small amount of drugs, likely to use for their own consumption. In other cases, the defendant has such a large supply of drugs that it can be reasonably inferred that the defendant planned to distribute them. These cases often involve much steeper penalties and more extensive investigations. 

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney if You’ve Been Charged With Possession of a Controlled Substance in Kentucky

A possession charge can lead to jail time and other collateral consequences. An experienced criminal defense lawyer is familiar with possible defenses to these charges and can explain how they can help during a confidential consultation.  

For more information, contact the Drug Crime attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers give us a call today at (859) 569-4014 or visit us at our Lexington law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507
United States